Tea on Tuesday - Civil War Style

Since I live in an area where the Civil War was rampant, I thought a little look back in history would be the theme for today!!

Some of this info came from a little booklet, Civil War Plants and Herbs written by Patricia Mitchell , who has written many other booklets  - among them: Victorian Parlors and Tea Parties, Suited to a Tea, and about 45 more from her "Inkling Series"- perfect gifts for an 1800's "foodie" or re-enactor!!!

Civil War tea according to Ms. Hague of that era:- "We had several substitutes for tea......Prominent among these substitutes were raspberry leaves. Many during the blockade planted and cultivated the raspberry vine all around their garden palings, as much for tea as the berries for jams or pies; these leaves were considered the best substitutes for tea. The leaves of the blackberry bush, huckleberry leaves, and the leaves of the holly-tree when dried in the shade, also made a palatable tea. "

Sugar was sometimes hidden underground, to be kept from marauders, and little bugs ended up being added to the flavor of the tea!

Tea and sugar became scarce and extremely pricey, as did coffee. Leaves from willow, sage, blackberry, currant, and vegetables came into use for teas. Syrup and sugar was created from watermelon juice, or honey or sorghum was used in place of "real" sugar.

In 1864, the prices for for tea ran $22 per lb, coffee $12 per lb, and brown sugar was $10 per lb.White sugar was hard to come by and only if you were a very wealthy person.

Since our raspberry and blackberry bushes produced almost no fruit this year, due to the "lovely" drought we are in the midst of, I may have to traipse out there,  collect some leaves, and make some tea!

Since I have not decided on what tea to have today- please enjoy some horse pix instead!
Meet  the newest member of our equine family- CISCO!!! He is a 9 year old, push button, registered, champagne buckskin quarter horse. In short- a real sweetie!!! And, as he demonstrates, real men can wear purple!  LOL

Please join us for Tea on Tuesdays. See the sidebar in Kim's blog for a list of other participants!


  1. Loved your civil war tea ... so interesting! You'll have to let us know how raspberry leaf tea tastes ...

    What a handsome fellow Cisco is in his purple! You have me wondering what "push button" is ... I am not savvy on horse speak ;)

    Happy T to ya Pat!

  2. Thanks for a continuation of my "history" trip! That's what I love about Virginia--everywhere you step there is history. My niece and her family live in Harrisonburg. My sister lives in Stuarts Draft. I know that area very well and always visit in October. The Dayton Farmers' Market is a must for a little shopping, lunch and people watching. I can go home again!

    And, our second dalmatian (liver spotted), Argos, was quite the dapper dog in his purple collar.


  3. Loved the history lesson and Cisco is gorgeous!

  4. Push button - means he will do everything almost without being told. He can be in the round pen (a small circular pen for exercising horses) with the human standing in the middle giving direction, and he will walk, trot, and canter just by hearing the words. When you say whoa, he stops and walks into the middle to face you. Now that's a good horse!!!:>)

  5. what a guy
    YES, that sounds like what you would hope for in every horse
    thanks for the clarification Horsey Lady ;)

  6. Beatuiful horse and intersting information...thanks!

  7. Nice Horse!!!

    I did know that raspberry leaves can be used to make "tea" In fact, I have had it and it is quite nice. I drink lots of herbal type teas so I have had many teas made from different leaves.

    I have a funny leaf story for you. Ages ago, I worked in a pizza place. We made killer spaghetti (and I still do!) And of course one of the ingredients in the sauce is a Bay LEAF. Normally this is seen a removed prior to serving. But on one very busy Friday night, one of the waitresses came rushing into the kitchen to get the manager. "We have a customer who is VERY UPSET!" The Manager calmly went out to handle the situation.
    A bit later he came back to the kitchen snickering. I HAD to know, NOW. So we went to the pantry. It seems this happened:
    Manager, "Yes sir, what is the problem?"
    Customer "THERE Is a LEAF in my spagetti!!!"
    Manager, (looking at the leaf) "yes sir, that is a bay leaf"
    Customer "NO it is a real leaf, like on a TREE!"

    Apparently the man had never heard of a bay leaf and could not comprehend using a leaf in food. (I wonder if he knew that the salad he ate was also a lot of leaves)

  8. One of the fascinating things I love about Tea Tuesday is all the useful and unusual information I get along the way. I was fascinated by the Civil War tea, and the various substitutes they made for it.

    I had planned to ask about push button, too, but Patty beat me to it and you answered! Thanks for the explanation. And of course, I think Cisco is a lovely horse.

    I just got home and you are my first stop on the Tea Tuesday trail today, so I guess I'd better thank you for your visit and wish you a very happy Tea Tuesday.

  9. As a Civil War enthusiast, I admit I know little about plants and herbs of the time. I'll have to follow the link to Patricia.

  10. Interesting tea history... Cisco is gorgeous! I was going through some old photos the other day and found some of one of my quarter horse mares... I miss them.

  11. Cisco is a beautiful horse! I was going to ask about the term push-button, too, but I see you have explained it. I think I'd have liked to have push-button kids, but it didn't happen that way!!! They were anything BUT.....

  12. I love living history (as opposed to dry reading- dates and battles and names I can't remember). I don't kinow HOW people survived during the Civil War- an we think WE have it bad with the recession!

    I hope you'll tell us how those raspberry leaves tasted. And explain, "push button" horse?

  13. See above comment for my explanation of "push button" :>)

  14. Cisco is the most handsome man in his new bridle...you are so lucky to have such a magnificent animal. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  15. Great history lesson. I bet you are a good story teller! I love raspberry tea. It also supports female organs and is really good for you. I love the info about the sugar and how sometimes little bugs were part of the flavoring.
    Also Cisco is magnificent. Makes me want to draw.

  16. I dropped by today (the 15th) to wish you a Happy Birthday!!!!!